Since the Tea Party made its rocky, socially awkward debut on the national stage by sending elected officials tea bags without knowing that "tea bagging" can also mean "gently resting one's ballsack upon someone's face," they've struggled to convince American voters that they're not comprised of a bunch of uncool oldsters who hate gays, non-whites, and spelling signs properly. And for good reason — Tea Partiers are older, whiter, and more socially conservative than the rest of the Republican Party, and they've hoisted some truly egregious permanent marker typos about how the President is a Kenyan Hitler, all while dressed like a terribly depressing version of Uncle Sam. But two rising stars in the movement seek to banish its unfortunate reputation — two black women who aim to show that devotion to fiscal responsibility is colorblind. And also that other black people who need help from the government are not trying hard enough.
Meet Utah's Mia Love and FreedomWorks' Deneen Borelli, two powerful, take no prisoners black women who are working to change the Tea Party's image by saying exactly what their white peers are saying, but being black while doing it. Borelli was hired by FreedomWorks expressly to recruit minorities to the movement, and Love, if elected, would become the first black Republican woman ever elected to Congress. Tea Party supporters hope that together, the two women can shake that pesky Jan Brewer Mexican-hating, Inge Marler All-Blacks-Are-On-Welfare jokemaking, black conservative-excluding, Islamophobic gang of raging human hot air balloons rather than simply a concerned group of citizens who want to cut spending.
Both Borelli and Love have had to overcome plenty in their lives. Love is the child of Haitian immigrants, grew up on the East Coast, and converted to Mormonism before marrying her husband, a faith that until 1978 banned black men from becoming priests and was founded by a guy who once said that anyone caught having sex with someone of African descent (the exact Brigham Young quote is, "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.") should be summarily executed. She's running against six-term Democrat Jim Matheson, a popular but perpetually embattled moderate Democrat. Love is currently the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah and won the Republican primary with 70% of the vote. Borelli started her career as a secretary at Phillip Morris (that company that gave all those people cancer by lying about how addictive and poisonous cigarettes are? You know the one?) and worked her way up to a leadership position, where she remained a loyal tobacco lackey for many years. She's now a Fox News contributor and professional speaker who significantly whitens her skin in her publicity photo.
Love believes that the government needs to curb spending by cutting entitlement programs and unnecessary junk like the Department of Education (because the last thing America needs is public education, amirite?) She's also got some pretty harsh words for Americans who do decide to utilize a government safety net program, telling a group of teachers the story of one of her father's lessons to her, "He said: ‘Mia, your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society. You will give back.'" Of course, the implication here is that anyone who takes a "handout" is a burden to society, and if you end up born into circumstances that make it difficult to live assistance-free, then you're a lazy burden. I'd love to hear her tell that to a group of elderly Medicare recipients or babies born to women addicted to drugs (GET A JOB, BABIES!), but I digress.
Borelli is spearheading a Tea Party effort called "Diverse Tea" (get it?! Diversity! But with the word Tea! Like the party! Oh my god, who taught the Tea Party about puns?), which launched in 2010 and aimed to set America straight about race and the Tea Party. They're not a racist group; they're just a group that seeks to eliminate many programs that overwhelmingly benefit nonwhites and they think our black President isn't really American. And agreeing with the political agenda that an expressly racist organization might design doesn't make one racist; it just makes one in agreement with racists. If Borelli hopes to convince black voters to come to the Tea side, she's got her work cut out for her — in 2008, 96% of black voters cast their vote for President Obama.
No one is questioning that these women are savvy, hard working, and accomplished, and it's not that controversial to assert that it's bad for the government to spend more money than it takes in. But it takes a special kind of jerk to seek to eliminate the safety net for others just because they personally do not need it. And Tea Partiers who think that the addition of black women to its ranks will cure its public relations problem are sadly misinformed about minority voters' ability to detect the smell of pandering. Just as fiscal responsibility is colorblind, so is bullshit. And just because Deneen Borelli and Mia Love are intelligent black women doesn't mean they don't have some terrible ideas.